THE TOP STORIES: Buhari declares old 200 naira notes legal tender till April 10.

THE TOP STORIES: Buhari declares old 200 naira notes legal tender till April 10.

President Muhammadu Buhari, in a national broadcast on Thursday morning, extended the validity of the old N200 notes till April 10, 2023.
The president addressed the nation following a series of protests across the country on Wednesday over scarcity of new naira notes .

“I am addressing you as your democratically elected president to sympathise with you over the hardship being experienced as a result of the naira redesign policy.”
“To further ease the supply pressures particularly to our citizens, I have given approval to the CBN that the old N200 bank notes be released back into circulation and that it should also be allowed to circulate as legal tender with the new N200, N500, and N1000 banknotes for 60 days from February 10, 2023 to April 10 2023 when the old N200 notes ceases to be legal tender,” President Buhari declared.

Buhari, however, stated that all old N500 and N1000 yet to be deposited to banks can still be redeemed at the CBN office, adding that the decision was for the interest of Nigeria’s economy.

He added: “17. In line with Section 20(3) of the CBN Act 2007, all existing old N1000 and N500 notes remain redeemable at the CBN and designated points.

“Considering the health of our economy and the legacy we must bequeath to the next administration and future generations of Nigerians, I admonish every citizen to strive harder to make their deposits by taking advantage of the platforms and windows being provided by the CBN.”

The Supreme Court adjourned a suit filed by Kaduna, Zamfara and Kogi States against the Federal Government over the naira redesign policy to February 22.

Meanwhile, the apex court had earlier ordered the Federal government and the CBN against implementation of the earlier currency swap deadline of February 10. However, seven other states joined the plaintiffs in the suits while Edo and Bayelsa States also applied for a joinder with Federal government as respondents, in support of the CBN policies.

N500 And N1,000 Notes Have Ceased To Be Legal Tender From February 10 – Buhari.

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered that the old N200 remains legal tender throughout Nigeria until April 10, 2023. He disclosed this in a 13-minute nationwide broadcast started at 7:00 a.m. today, Thursday, February 16.

“I have given approval to the CBN that the old N200 be released back into the system for 60 days, from February 10 to April 10, 2023 and should circulate alongside the new N200 until April 10, 2023 when the old N200 note ceases to be legal tender,” Buhari said.
He indicated that the old N500 and N1,000 notes have ceased to be legal tender from February 10 as earlier declared by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The President disclosed that he has directed CBN to intensify education of the naira redesign policy and to collaborate with anti-corruption agencies to clamp down on financial institutions sabotaging the policy.


Police hands over 3,980 Arms, 2,358 Ammunition, 1,057 Cartridges to centre for control of small Arms and light weapons.

As IGP Reaffirms Commitment to Continually Partner NCCSALW for Achievement of Constitutional Mandate

The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, psc(+), NPM, NEAPS, fdc, CFR, has supervised the handing over of 3,980 arms of different calibres to the National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (NCCSALW). The handed over arms comprise 265 automatic rifles; 146 pump action guns; 1,909 locally fabricated pistols; 1,500 locally made single barrel guns; 98 locally made double barrel guns; 46 General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMGs); 16 locally made rocket launchers; 2 locally made Anti-Aircraft (AA) guns; and 7 Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs). Similarly, 2,358 assorted calibres of ammunition and 1,057 assorted cartridges were equally handed over.

According to a statement by the FPRO, CSP. Adejobi said, the IGP emphasised that the exercise is part of the efforts of the Nigeria Police Force, as a lead agency in internal security management, to curb the threat of the proliferation of illegal Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) trafficking within the country. He similarly stated that the Nigeria Police Force under his leadership has been evaluating and re-evaluating its operational strategies while strengthening institutional capacity in relation to the generation of actionable intelligence and the conduct of special operations directed at proactively checkmating the menace of arms proliferation.

On this note, the IGP has however directed Commissioners of Police in charge of State Police Commands and their supervisory Assistant Inspectors-General of Police including Heads of Tactical Units of the Force to aggressively sustain the mop-up exercise in order to actualize the mandate of the Federal Government on the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.

The Inspector-General of Police re-affirmed the commitment of the Nigeria Police Force and his assurance that the Nigeria Police Force will continue to partner with the National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (NCCSALW) as both institutions strive to achieve the mandate of the Federal Government on the control of the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the country.


2023: North Has Four Years Deficit For Presidency – Ango Abdullahi.

The Convener of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Ango Abdullahi, on Wednesday, said the north has a deficit of four years to rule the country.
Abdullahi states this amidst the claims that power should be zoned to the South-East in the 2023 presidential election.

The NEF convener noted that the South has ruled Nigeria for 14 years, adding that the North has only ruled for 10 years.
He, however, stated that everyone has the right to contest in the presidential election and if they win, it should be based on thumbprints.
Abdullahi stated this at the ongoing General Assembly and 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Northern Elders Forum, held at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja on Wednesday.


Naira Redesign: Buhari Meets Emefiele After Supreme Court Adjournment.

President Muhammadu Buhari has met with the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, hours after the Supreme Court adjourned the suit on the naira redesign policy.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, made this known in an interview with Channels Television.
Shehu said the President met with the apex bank boss after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, following the adjournment of the suit filed against the Federal Government and the CBN at the Supreme Court.
However, the presidential spokesman failed to confirm or deny the reports making the rounds that the President may be mulling an extension of the validity of the old naira notes by 60 days.


Naira Scarcity: Two Banks Burnt As Protest Rocks Delta State.

The Delta State Police Command has said at least two banks were burnt in the violent protest that broke out in the state over naira scarcity.
It had been reported how protesters took to the streets over the inability to access cash.

Commenting on the protests, image maker of the police in Delta, DSP Bright Edafe, disclosed that no fewer than nine persons were arrested in connection with the setting ablaze of two commercial banks in Udu Local Government Area of the state.
He made this known via his official Twitter handle.
According to him, “In Udu Local Government Area, some unguided youths/miscreants in the name of protest have set two banks and two vehicles ablaze in Udu Local Government Area.
“We have arrested nine suspects so far. Some persons will still call this protest,” he said.

Naira Crisis: It Is A Plot Against Tinubu – Gbajabiamila.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said the current fuel and naira scarcity is a plot against the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu.

According to him, some elements have deliberately created a crisis around the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) cashless policy just to stop Tinubu from winning the presidential election.
The Speaker made the assertion on Tuesday in Lagos during the launching of the second phase of a transport initiative called “Gbaja ride”.
He explained that no one can convince him that the new naira crisis is not a plot to fight Tinubu’s presidential bid.
He was, however, glad that the elements behind the alleged plot have been put to shame because God has intervened in the matter.
The Speaker further alleged that the incessant fuel and naira scarcity of naira notes were carefully orchestrated by some elements to as well slow down the successes of the President Muhammadu Buhari‘s administration.

Naira Redesign: Angry Customers Ground CBN Office In Abuja.

Dozens of angry cash depositors, on Wednesday, prevented movement in and out of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) office in Garki, Abuja.
The customers, who visited the CBN office to deposit their old naira notes as directed by the apex bank, prevented staff and visitors from accessing the building.
They were surprised when they realised that what they had hoped would be a simple process turned out to be long hours of waiting.

Angered by the development, the customers blocked the entrance of the apex bank’s office for hours, preventing access to the building.
“We came here with the hope of depositing our old notes as CBN asked us to do. But we are disappointed because the CBN portal is not working and no official came out to address us or give us the form to fill.
“The suffering is becoming unbearable. We laboured hard to earn money and still struggle again to access the money,” said Folashade Bello, who said she had been waiting for about four hours.

Another customer, who simply identified himself as David, said, “We had been waiting here for hours without achieving anything. They said we should write names, we did but still nothing. The portal is malfunctioning. No one came out to give us form to fill. People came from as far as Suleja hoping to deposit cash and return home. This is double ‘wahala’. You stress to deposit old notes, you stress to get new notes.”
It took the intervention of police officers from the FCT Police Command to calm the cash depositors after several hours of barricading the building entrance.

2023: Tinubu Meets With Wike In Rivers.

The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has met with the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike.
The meeting, which held at the Government House, Port Harcourt had in attendance prominent chieftains of the ruling party.
The meeting may be connected with the forthcoming general elections that is to hold next week.
The meeting also comes right after Tinubu’s presidential campaign which held at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Elekahia, Port Harcourt, venue for the rally.


2023: Policeman, Party Supporters Injured, As Guber Debate Turns Bloody In Sokoto.

The governorship debate in Sokoto State on Wednesday turned bloody as the supporters of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state and that of opposition All Progressive Congress (APC) engaged in physical combat as scores of people including a police man were injured.

The debate which was organized by Voice Of America (VOA) Hausa Service was held at the auditorium of Usman Danfodio University , Sokoto.
Trouble started after governorship candidates of five political parties, PDP, APC, NNPP, ADP and Labour Party reeled out their manifestoes to the people.

Some supporters of APC who spoke on a condition of anonymity blamed the moderator and said he was responsible for the crisis because he was trying to favour Peoples Democratic Party.
One of the APC supporters maintained that in an atmosphere where you have different political parties how would you only give opportunity to PDP to ask questions.

He explained that the moderator should be held responsible for the chaos.
In a swift reaction, a PDP chieftainl who also spoke on condition of anonymity said the moderator had not done anything wrong blaming, the chaos on APC.
He said it was the nature of APC in the state, stressing that the party is known for thuggery and violence.
He said APC had mutilated all PDP billboards and posters across the state.
He explained that despite provocation the PDP leaders in the state had been telling their supporters to remain calm.
He challenged APC to campaign on issues instead of engaging in violence, wondering if they killed in the name of politics, who will they govern if they eventually win the election?


2023 Election: They Will Have A Taste Of Their Own Medicine, If Ndigbo Is Attacked – IPOB.

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has stated that those who plan on attacking Igbos in the upcoming elections should prepare to have a taste of their own medicine.
IPOB spokesman warned that the group would retaliate any form of attack against them.
Speaking via a statement, the group stated that they had gotten wind of a yoruba monarch who plans on dealing with non indigenes especially Ndigbo who refuse to vote for his chosen candidate.
The proscribed group, after reaffirming that they remained neutral in electoral process, warned politicians and traditional rulers who have terrible plans for Igbos in the upcoming election to desist from it as they would not sit still and watch their kinsmen undergo any form of attack.


Naira Crisis: Nigeria’s Inflation Hits A New 17-Year Record High.

Nigeria’s inflation in January 2023 has hit a new 17-year record high of 21.82% amidst the naira crisis caused by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) redesign policy.
The new inflation rate of 21.82% is the highest to be recorded since September 2005, making it a new 17-year record hit.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in its Consumer Price Index for January 2023, revealed that the country’s inflation increased by 0.48% points from the 21.34% that was recorded in December 2022.
The Bureau said “In January 2023, the headline inflation rate rose to 21.82% compared to December 2022 headline inflation rate which was 21.34%.
“Looking at the trend, the January 2023 inflation rate showed an increase of 0.47% points when compared to December 2022 inflation rate. However, on a year-on-year basis, the headline inflation rate was 6.22 % points higher compared to the rate recorded in January 2022, which was 15.60 %.
“This shows that the headline inflation rate (year-on-year basis) increased in the month of January 2023 when compared to the same month in the preceding year (i.e., January 2022).”
This new 17-year high record comes in the midst of the cash crunch characterised by the shortage in the new naira and the crisis rocking the deadline of the old N200, N500, and N1000 bank notes.
The NBS report shows that there have been increases in the prices of bread and cereal, actual and imputed rent, potatoes, yam and tuber, vegetables, and meat among others.

Naira Redesign: Tinubu Meets With Buhari After Supreme Court Sitting.

The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The meeting, which reportedly held at the Residence inside the Villa, held before the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, according to The Nation.
The meeting may be connected with issues of campaigns and other prevailing national issues.
After the meeting, Buhari reportedly joined the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting.
Another source disclosed that Buhari’s lateness to the FEC meeting, besides his meeting with Tinubu, must have been as a result of his decision to stay back to monitor the outcome of the Supreme Court’s case against the federal government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the naira redesign policy, which was eventually adjourned to Wednesday, February 22.


New Naira Notes: Why El-Rufai And I Stormed Supreme Court – Bello.

The Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello has revealed why he and the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, stormed the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
The Supreme Court of Nigeria held a brief hearing on the suit filed on the naira swap policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The apex court, however, adjourned the hearing of the consolidated suits by states to Wednesday, February 22, 2023.
Bello, while addressing newsmen after the adjournment, said he and his Kaduna counterpart stormed the court to ensure that justice is obtained for the masses who are suffering the brunt of the policy at this time.
The Kogi State Governor said he and El-Rufai are not against the redesign policy but against the CBN implementation.
The Supreme Court hearing was attended by a delegation of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) on Wednesday.
Bello said the understanding from court proceedings suggests that the order made by the justices still subsists up till Wednesday, February 22 when the matter will be heard.


2023: Growing Concerns Over Lagos REC’s Neutrality.

The February 25, 2023 presidential election is regarded by many Nigerians as one that would determine the future of the country. But there seems to be palpable fear, apprehension and anxiety everywhere, with many engaged in all kinds of calculations, permutations and projections, as to what the outcome would be. While many hinge the survival or cessation of the corporate existence of Nigeria on the way and manner the election is conducted, others still believe in the status quo and that nothing would change. To them, it will still be business as usual.
Unfortunately, tension is mounting and tempers are flaring, but the good news is that people are still waiting anxiously for the D-day to exercise their civic responsibility of selecting the next president. Many Nigerians expect a level playing field to guarantee free, fair and credible elections, so that they will be able to pick their preferred candidate on Election Day. Many believe the election would be a watershed, even as they insist that only the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), holds the ace.
However, less than two weeks to the presidential election, Nigerians are still expressing concerns and fears as to the preparedness and willingness of the INEC to deliver free, fair and credible elections.
Those in this school of thought are quick to draw attention to the activities of some elements within the Commission, with a particular reference to the Lagos State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Olusegun Agbaje. Their argument is that if the recent utterances and actions of the Lagos REC were anything to go by, then one might not be wrong to accept with a pinch of salt the INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu’s consistent gospel of the Commission’s readiness to deliver free, fair and credible elections.
Expectations are high that the INEC would do everything possible to stop anything or anybody that would cast even a modicum of doubt or semblance of it on the credibility of the Commission and its promise of delivering free, fair and credible elections to Nigerians.
Agbaje appears to have stirred the hornet’s nest with his recent statement about the failure or inability of INEC to give the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to many residents of Oshodi/Isolo and Okota areas of Lagos, populated mainly by the Igbo. He was quoted to have said that majority of those who were unable to get their PVCs were the Igbo who did double registration after they ‘migrated’ to Lagos from the South East.
Recall that many residents of Okota have complained that after several visits to various INEC offices within the Oshodi/Isolo area, they were told that their PVCs could not be found. This simply meant that they had been disenfranchised and would not be able to vote on Election Day. Most of them lamented that the INEC officials kept promising them that they would get their PVCs on so many occasions that they visited their offices to get the cards, only to be told eventually that their cards could not be found. This, they reasoned, was a deliberate and calculated move to disenfranchise them.

Soon after the Lagos REC disclosed why such a huge number of Igbo in Okota area could not get their PVCs, many Nigerians, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as well as some civil society groups, began to demand for Mr. Agbaje’s removal if the INEC boss, Prof Yakubu wants Nigerians to have faith in his Commission delivering free, fair and credible elections, particularly in Lagos State.
Those pushing for Agbaje’s removal as Lagos REC noted that while the dust of his response to why many Igbo in Okota were denied their PVCs was yet to settle down, his alleged contract to the Lagos State Park and Garage Management Committee led by Musliu Akinsanya, also known as MC Oluomo, for the movement of INEC’s election materials in the state surfaced. Agbaje was alleged to have made the disclosure on Tuesday last week during the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) meeting in Lagos.

This piece of information did not go down well with a section of the populace, particularly the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, who felt that Oluomo is a known ally of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and as such, would be partial in carrying out such responsibility.
The PDP presidential candidate, through his Special Assistant on Public Communication, Phrank Shuaibu, accused Agbaje of partisanship and compromise with his move to engage Oluomo’s Park Committee to distribute INEC’s sensitive materials in Lagos.
A statement by Shuaibu said that Atiku who is also the Waziri Adamawa, described as curious Agbaje’s insistence on the use of the Lagos State Park and Garage Management Committee, led by transport kingpin and member of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Oluomo, for election logistics on February 25 and March 11, 2023.

He described as watery Agbaje’s excuse that INEC would not be able to use the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) because they had been barred in Lagos State.
Also, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has equally thrown its weight behind the former vice president to reject the logistics arrangement in Lagos with Oluomo’s group.
Its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, said deploying members of an organisation sympathetic to the APC amounts to compromising the polls even before the D-day.
He accused the Lagos REC of working for the ruling party and clandestinely perfecting schemes to actualise the plot to rig the exercise and put his person in power against the will of the Nigerian people.

“The INEC’s plan to use the organisation, led by a known APC member who has been seen in Tinubu’s many rallies in Lagos, Ogun, Kwara, Osun, Ekiti and other places is condemnable and anti-democratic. HURIWA rejects the move in its entirety.
“Apparently, the Lagos REC is working for Tinubu and APC. INEC needs to immediately redeploy him for electoral integrity if any at all will be achieved in the next elections.
“Also, HURIWA demands that INEC finds an alternative to the Central Bank of Nigeria and not keep sensitive and non-sensitive materials in the custody of the apex bank, headed by a known APC member, and in fact, a former presidential aspirant of the ruling party.

This is totally wrong,” Onwubiko stated.
However, Agbaje has dismissed Atiku’s call for his resignation as a joke and waste of his precious time, denying that the electoral body in Lagos State had any agreement with Oluomo to move electoral materials in the forthcoming elections in the state.
He made the disclosures at an enlarged stakeholders’ forum of the electoral body which was held last week at the Media Centre, INEC State Office, Sabo-Yaba, Lagos. Agbaje also revealed that Lagos State recorded 88 per cent of PVCs collection before the end of the exercise.

Reacting to the development, the INEC National Commissioner in charge of Voter Education and Publicity, Festus Okoye, insisted that the Commission does not go into contract with transport unions for the movement of its materials, but rather deals with individual drivers. He said the Commission only enters into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with transport unions to help the Commission trace any of their members who is given a job of moving INEC’s materials from point A to B but fails to turn up.
However, the matter has assumed a different dimension with the recent denial by Agbaje of ever having any such contract with Oluomo’s Park Committee. Agbaje, who was reported in several media platforms as insisting that members of Oluomo’s Park Committee would be deployed to convey materials for the Commission in Lagos, is today singing a new song. He has denied ever having such a discussion with Oluomo.
With the latest twist in the unfolding drama, many Nigerians feel deeply concerned as to the sincerity and willingness of the Commission to conduct free, fair and credible elections on February 25 and March 11, respectively.

Interestingly, as the drama unfolds, Nigerians can only pray and plead with INEC to do the right thing so that Nigerians can freely pick leaders of their choice and not those who manipulate the process with the tacit connivance of some dubious and unscrupulous INEC personnel to win elections.
Responding to the development, President of the Middle Belt Forum (MBF), Dr. Pogu Bitrus, noted that the issue required proper scrutiny since INEC had promised Nigerians that it would deliver free and fair elections.
However, within the ranks of the INEC, he noted that there are people who are ready to compromise and sabotage the electoral process for their own personal gains. “The unfortunate thing is that it may not be the INEC itself that has the problem, but those people within the INEC who are ready to compromise.

Such elements should be identified from the beginning and kicked out of the system if INEC must deliver free, fair and credible elections as it has promised Nigerians,” he cautioned.
He also disagreed with Agbaje’s submission of double registration as the reason for disenfranchising the Igbo in Okota area of Lagos. He said: “With regard to Agbaje’s argument of double registration as to why many people, particularly South Easterners in Okota axis could not get their PVCs, I don’t think that is tenable because when you go to register and you have registered in another place earlier, you will only inform them that you have registered in another place but only want to transfer your registration to your new place. And if that is done, it is not double registration.” In this line of argument, Dr. Bitrus used his personal experience to drive home his point, saying, “I had PVC but it didn’t have my picture; it was blank. So, I came to Abuja, registered again supplying the same data I used before and I got another one without any problem. If what the Lagos REC is saying is true, it means the INEC registration officers didn’t do their job during the registration, because in my own case, I just told them that I have PVC but it doesn’t have my picture and I would like to have a complete one. They told me what to do, guided me, and registered me. I later went and collected my new PVC in my local government, not in Abuja where I did the correction.

That should have applied in the case of those Igbo in Okota area of Lagos, and it is suspicious because it appears as if it is targeted at the Igbo community in Lagos. When such a thing happens, a proper and thorough investigation has to take place to ascertain whether the claim of the REC is genuine or not.”
He further stressed that the credibility of an election is based on so many parameters, not just one thing and warned that Nigeria should not be allowed to descend to the politics of the First Republic where each region was being controlled by regional parties. “Yes, INEC has moved forward by introducing BVAS but certain processes also have to be checked so that some people don’t get disenfranchised just because they belong to a particular community or because it is believed or presumed that they may vote for a particular candidate. Now, if such a thing is allowed to happen, we will end up with a situation we had in the First Republic, where the Northern Peoples’ Congress (NPC) was controlling the North by force, and the Action Group (AG) was by force controlling the West and everybody was controlling his own enclave.
That is not healthy; we should have grown beyond that. People should be free to vote for whomever they like and not to be forced to do what some people want because they feel the territory where such an election is holding is their own,” he stated.
In the same vein, the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, noted that at the level of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, it is believed that anybody who is deprived of justice will not have interest in peace. “When you deny somebody of his right, he becomes agitated and equally angry,” he added.

Extrapolating the above principle and situating it to the prevailing circumstance, he is of the view that the Lagos REC, by his alleged action, is creating anger between himself and the Igbo population; a development he said is not even to the advantage of the APC and Tinubu. “So, anybody who is reasonable will want to create friendship; not animosity and enmity during an election. So, my advice is that it is better to create friendship than enmity because by the time you create enmity, it will bounce back. It will boomerang because people will become more aggressive in trying to vent their anger. So, what the Lagos REC has succeeded in doing is creating more enmity and distancing the Igbo from the election. And even those who would have had sympathy for the APC will no longer be there. It is not supposed to be. So, our advice again is that the APC and Tinubu group should try as much as possible to attract votes from diverse interests, and ethnic groups. But, to begin to force people or create enmity and develop animosity is not even helping the process, especially the candidate that is contesting elections,” he submitted.

On the alleged move to engage Oluomo’s Park Committee for the distribution of election materials, he said: “If there is no National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Lagos, I don’t have any problem with that because Ohanaeze Ndigbo wouldn’t come from the South East, and begin to impose on Lagos State what they want to do. But also, trying to give such a contract to somebody believed to be a member of the APC Presidential Campaign Council is an indication that things are not working well and this is the kind of thing that people are revolting against. What is happening in Nigeria currently is a revolt against the system and this alleged action of the Lagos REC is trying to add value to it.
“So, the more you try to use some of these obnoxious methods in the political system, the more people continue to revolt. When they say vote wisely, it is to sharpen your eyes against injustice and vote for the right person. So, they are creating problems for Tinubu and his party, the APC, by adopting the wrong method. It is advised that they do the right thing; it is to their own advantage that things are working well,” he said.
Chief Ogbonnia advised the Lagos REC to do the right thing to avoid people’s anger and revolt against any party or candidate. “The more you create hardship and an obnoxious system and method, the more people will revolt against you. So, whatever injustice they want to impose on the people will be to the advantage of the opposition party and that is why you hear the slogan, ‘vote wisely”, he noted.


Suspend Blanket Visa Ban On Nigerians – Buhari To UAE.

President Muhammadu Buhari has called for a lifting of the blanket visa ban clamped down on Nigerians by the Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The President canvassed this position on Monday during a telephone conversation with the President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who doubles as the Emir of Abu Dhabi.
In a statement to newsmen, Buhari Media Assistant, Garba Shehu, revealed that the President had called Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to condole with him on the death of his mother-in-law, Sheikha Maryam Al Falasi, during which important issues of mutual concern between the two countries came up.
The President requested his UAE counterpart to review the blanket visa ban imposed on Nigerians intending to travel to the UAE, recalling that mutually beneficial excellent relations have subsisted between the two nations over many years, symbolized by robust economic interactions and regular consultations on matters of common interest, including engagements at the highest political levels.
He noted that recent irritants in bilateral relations generated by consular issues relating to the behaviour of some Nigerians in the UAE are being ironed out, explaining that no country including Nigeria will condone criminalities and illegal behaviours.
President Buhari therefore expressed the readiness of the Government of Nigeria to apply necessary sanctions through appropriate judicial process against anyone identified to have committed criminal acts in the UAE, urging that the issue be allowed to be handled by the relevant security/intelligence agencies of the two countries and to come up with lasting solutions to the problems associated with criminalities and illegalities.
President Buhari also requested a resumption of the suspended operations of Emirates Airline in the country.


2023: Boss Mustapha Inaugurates Presidential Transition Council, Highlights Their Duties.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha on Tuesday, inaugurated the Presidential Transition Council ahead of the 2023 election.
Mustapha noted in his speech during the inauguration that the council will facilitate the handing over process by the current President to the President-elect.
The SGF added that the inauguration of the committee is a demonstration of the commitment of the Muhammadu Buhari administration to strengthening key governance institutions that support the democratic process.
Recall President Buhari had last week approved the establishment of a presidential transition council to oversee the 2023 transition programme.

Speaking on Tuesday during the inauguration, Mustapha said the assignment is in compliance with the Executive Order No. 14 of 2023 signed by the President on February 7 for managing Presidential transitions of government at the federal level.
The SGF also on Tuesday announced the appointment of the Special Adviser to the President on Policy and Coordination, Dr. Habiba Lawal as Secretary of the Presidential Transition Council.


Why We Invited, Grilled Fani-Kayode For Six Hours – DSS.

The Department of State Services (DSS) has said the former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, will appear before the agency for more questioning.
Recall that Fani-Kayode, the Director of New Media Operations and Special Projects of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign council, was on Monday detained and grilled by the DSS over a post he made on Twitter.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Public Relations Officer of DSS, Dr Peter Afunanya disclosed that the agency invited Fani-Kayode for questioning based on an investigation it is carrying out relating to issues relevant to National Security.
According to the secret police, Fani-Kayode was made to face a Panel which interviewed him on the subject matter before granting him administrative bail.
He said the former minister had been directed to make routine returns to the DSS with effect from Wednesday till otherwise while his investigation continues, warning political parties and their media managers to apply restraint in their utterances and public communication engagements prior to and after the general elections.


PDP G5: We Will Act On Feb 25 — Wike.

The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike says the G5 or Integrity Group within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is not running out of steam, adding that the group will act out its plan in the February 25, 2023 presidential election.
He spoke on Tuesday during the party’s governorship campaign in the Ahoada East Local Government Area of the state.
“They said G5 is dead. What is their problem? Why are they concerned?” Wike queried as he addressed PDP supporters decked up in party paraphernalia.
The G5 is made up of five aggrieved governors of the PDP in southern Nigeria including Wike, Samuel Ortom (Benue), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu).
The five governor have been consistent in their demand that Iyorchia Ayu step down as PDP national chairman as a precondition for them to support the presidential ambition of the party’s flag bearer, Atiku Abubakar.
Of late, the five governors known to embark on foreign trips together and solidarity campaigns in their states have not been seen together in public. The development fueled speculations that their alliance is of no effect any more.
However, Wike on Tuesday said the G5 will act on the D-day come next week.
“They don’t know there is a time to talk and there is a time to take action in politics. The action is on February 25. They can’t know our plans even if they push us. The more you look, the less you see,” he said.
“None of the vultures can withstand me and talk. Nobody can sell Rivers State for a pot of porridge,” he added.
On the cancellation of the presidential rally of Atiku in Rivers, the governor said the PDP at the centre has never loved the state in the first place.
Wike said, “When they said they cancelled the rally, it is a lie; they don’t want to tell us that they can’t mobilise. In any case, PDP hasn’t told us that they love Rivers State.

“We had a problem here; heavy flood that occupied our houses. Did anybody whether the PDP (presidential) candidate or any leadership of the party, did they come to sympathise with us? But they went to Bayelsa, went to Delta. They showed us they don’t love us. No problem but our destiny is in our hands. Nobody can force us to anything,” he explained.
The former minister said the excuse of insecurity tendered by Atiku’s team for the cancellation of the rally is not tenable. Wike argued that the presidential candidates of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi and New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Rabiu Kwankwaso both campaign in Rivers and they were not attacked.
“Peter Obi came, I gave him vehicles, he campaigned and left, nothing happened to him. Kwankwaso came here, I gave him vehicles, he campaigned and nothing happened to him. APC has applied and I have given them stadium; if them want vehicles from me, I will give them. But your party (PDP) said there is insecurity in Rivers,” he said.


CBN Reveals Action It Will Take Against PoS Operators.


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday threatened to clamp down on Point of Sale operators for taking advantage of Nigerians of the scarcity of newly printed naira notes in the country.
The apex bank described the PoS operators exploiting Nigerians as fifth columnists and vowed to arrest and prosecute operators found guilty of such acts.
The Director of the Governor’s Department of CBN, Joseph Omayuku while addressing newsmen in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State said the sharp practices were discovered after reviews of the implementation of the policy.
Omayuku accused PoS operators of selling naira notes for naira notes to Nigerians amidst the rejection of online payments by some business operators.

Naira Redesign: No Cash Yet For Elections — INEC.

Nine days to the February 25 presidential and National Assembly election, cash for the mobilisation of ad-hoc staff for the polls is yet to be made available to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Nigerians have been battling with the scarcity of naira notes following the redesign of N200, N500 and N1000 notes by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court will today continue hearing the suits by three state governments challenging the implementation of the currency swap deadline.
The Supreme Court had on February 8 restrained the federal government from enforcing the cash swap deadline of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) following the suit by the governments of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states challenging the currency policy.
The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, had penultimate Tuesday met with the governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, where he requested concessions regarding the naira redesign policy with specific reference to the limitations placed on cash withdrawals and the need to make some cash available for some peculiarities that cannot be met with electronics transfer of monies.
Emefiele had while responding, said he would ensure the CBN is not seen as an agent used to thwart the forthcoming general election, assuring that the apex bank would provide INEC needed naira notes as required.
But, an indication emerged that the new notes have not been made available to the electoral body ahead of the election when the Resident Electoral Commissioner for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Alhaji Yahaya Bello, raised the issue.
Bello said the ability of the INEC to conduct the general election may be hampered by the CBN’s cashless policy.
Speaking in Abuja at the North-Central stakeholders’ roundtable on the 2023 general elections, organised by the Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), he said the commission needs cash to enable it to coordinate security and logistics, and that the scarcity of the naira may affect this.
He said that if nothing was done to address the cash crunch caused by the policies, INEC in the FCT and across the country would find it difficult to deploy staff and materials for the election as most of the services required cash to obtain.
He, however, said that apart from the cash challenge, the commission was prepared for the elections as it had taken delivery of 80 per cent of materials for the polls and trained staff ahead of the February 25 and March 11 elections.
“Before election day, we are going to deploy the service providers. On the night of Friday (the day before the election) in the FCT, we have more than 12, 000 ad-hoc staff that we are going to give cash to.
“None of them will receive a cheque or accept a transfer. I am talking about FCT (12,000), which will require about N5,000 (each) cash on Friday night. Also, those who are going to transport our men, materials and security to the polling units will need cash to do that.
“Also, you will not take a security person to a polling unit from morning till evening without giving him money to eat and I don’t think you expect him to go to the POS to withdraw the N1,000 you are going to give him,” he said.
He, however, said that INEC was in discussions with the CBN to see how the problem could be addressed.
He said, “This policy does not affect only INEC FCT in particular. It is going to affect the whole commission nationwide. So, the chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu met with the CBN governor, they also consulted and briefed the National Council of States and the Presidency.
“This is an issue that is being tackled at the highest level because it affects the whole election generally. For now, we are going to wait for the outcome of the negotiations and discussions that are ongoing. So that we will know exactly what is going on.”
Speaking earlier, the Executive Director of the CTA, Faith Nwadishi, said the centre, which is an accredited election observation group, will deploy 2000 observers across the country to cover the 774 local government areas during the 2023 general elections.
Old notes no longer legal tender – Emefiele
Meanwhile, Emefiele has insisted that there was no need to shift the February 10 deadline for recognising the old naira notes as legal tender.
He stated this during a visit to the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday to discuss the monetary and currency redesign policy of the apex bank.
The comment by Emefiele is coming against the backdrop of the recent ruling by the Supreme Court, which temporarily restrained the CBN from enforcing the February 10 deadline for the naira swap.
“The situation is substantially calming down since the commencement of over-the-counter payments to complement ATM disbursements and the use of super-agents. There is, therefore, no need to consider any shift from the deadline of February 10,” he said.
He further said the effective implementation of the naira redesign policy could cut off 4 per cent from the current inflation level of 21.34 per cent.
Emefiele also accused some politicians of “buying” the new notes and hoarding them.
“Some of our leaders are buying the new notes and storing them for whatever purposes. I will not be direct here,” he said.
He further explained that the optimal volume of cash in circulation should be around N700 billion.
He said: “Even if we say N1trillion should be in circulation, we cannot refloat N3.7trillion into circulation.”
Emefiele also said that Point of Sale (POS) agents who charge above N200 for the CBN cash swap programme will be arrested and jailed when caught.
He further added that the POS operators can come to the CBN to be compensated for any extra cost incurred in getting the new notes rather than charging a higher fee on customers.
Falana faults CBN
Reacting, Femi Falana, human rights lawyer, said the CBN was wrong for not obeying an order of the Supreme Court suspending the implementation of the February 10 deadline on the old naira notes.
In an interview with Channels Television on Tuesday, Falana said CBN has a responsibility to direct commercial banks to comply with the order of the court.
“In a country where the rule of law operates, once the Supreme Court has determined a matter or given an order, it is expected that all and sundry – everybody – will comply with the order,” he said.

Why I Shunned Court Order That Sent Me To Prison – Bawa.

The Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, said he disobeyed a court order that committed him to prison for contempt because he was not given fair hearing.
Recall that a High Court sitting in Kogi State had directed the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba, to arrest the EFCC Chairman over disobedience to a court order.
The IGP was also ordered to remand Bawa in Kuje prison for the next 14 days until he purges himself of the contempt.

The presiding judge, Justice R.O. Ayoola in his judgement granted the application for committal to prison of the EFCC chairman for disobeying a court ruling delivered on November 30, 2022.
However, the EFCC approached the Court of Appeal in Abuja for a stay of execution on the court order which committed its chairman to prison for 14 days.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja, Bawa, who was represented at the briefing by EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, said the Commission had approached the appellate court for a stay of execution as a law-abiding agency.
The EFCC spokesman said the Commission would never disobey any court ruling or undermine the judiciary which he holds in great esteem, adding that its action does not show contempt for the court.

Lai Mohammed Discloses Biggest Achievement As Minister

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has disclosed the biggest achievement of his ministry.
Mohammed stated that the ministry has made great leaps in the repatriation of hundreds of looted artefacts.
The Minister disclosed this on Tuesday in Abuja at the 26th edition of the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration Scorecard Series (2015-2023).
According to him, he was able to repatriate 1,130 Benin Bronzes looted from Germany alone.
He also boasted that the ministry succeeded in repatriating a 600-year-old Ife Terracotta From the Netherlands in October 2020.

Naira Redesign: February 8 Order Still Subsist – Supreme Court Declares.


The Supreme Court has said its February 8 order barring the Federal Government and its agencies from enforcing the February 10 deadline for the use of old 200, 500 and 1000 naira notes still subsist.
The court made the clarification on Wednesday following complaint by lawyer to Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states, Abdulhakeem Mustapha (SAN) that the Fed Govt and its agencies have failed to comply with the order and have allegedly directed the rejection of the old notes.
Mustapha said the plaintiff filed a notice of none-compliance with the order of the court order made on February 8. And demanded that the court take action against the respondent to protect the dignity of the court.
He added: “That order has been flouted by the government. We are talking of executive lawlessness here. We have filed an affidavit to that effect…We want the court to renew the order for parties to be properly guided.”
Justice John Okoro, who presided over a seven-member panel of the court, asked Mustapha to filed a proper application to put forward his complaints and to enable the respondent respond appropriately.
Justice Okoro said there was no need for a renewal of the court’s order.
He noted that, since the order made by the court on February 8 was made pending the determination of the motion for injunctions filed by the plaintiff, the order still subsists since the motion was not yet heard.
The court had, in the February 8 ruling, said: “after a careful consideration of this ex-parte application, and the grounds in support of same, this court finds that there is real urgency for this court to intervene by the grant of this application.

“Accordingly, this application is hereby granted as prayed.
“That is to say, an order of interim injunction restraining the Federal Government of Nigeria, either by itself or acting through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and/or the commercial banks, its agents; agencies, corporations, ministries, parastatals, organizations or through any person or persons (natural and artificial) howsoever, from suspending or determining or ending on the 10th of February 2023 the timeframe within which the now older versions of the 200, 500 and 1000 denominations of the naira may no longer be legal tender, pending the hearing and determination of the plaintiffs/applicants’ motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.”
The Supreme Court has however fixed February 22 for hearing of the suit filed Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states challenging the propriety the naira swap policy of the Federal Government.
The court chose the date after joining the Attorneys General of Katsina Lagos, CR, Ondo, Ogun, Ekiti and Sokoto states as co-plaintiffs in the earlier suit filed by Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states.
The court also joined the Attorneys General of Edo and Bayelsa states as co-respondents. Both states elected to side with the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) originally listed as the sole respondent.

The court ordered that the suits filed by separately by Nasarawa, Rivers and Kano states on the same issue be consolidated with the one filed by Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states.
The court ordered parties to file all necessary documents before the hearing set for next Wednesday.
Justice Okoro, before adjourning, told lawyer to the AGF, Kanu Agabi (SAN) to advise his client to ensure the availability of currency for the people.
“Tell your client to let people have money. If they go to the ATM and the plaintiffs will come and withdraw the case. Make money available to the poor masses.
“You should know that a hungry man is an angry man. I say no more,” he said.
Responding, Agabi said Nigerians were only blaming the government for their poverty.
“Many people don’t have money. They blame it on the Fed Govt and the AGF. I don’t have money too.
“Things have been bad for long. It is not today that the problems started,” Agabi said.
Governors Nasir El-Rufai and Yahaya Bello of Kaduna and Kogi states were in court to witness proceedings.
Speaking after the court proceedings, Bello said the states were not at war with the Fed Govt over its cashless policy, but are only concerned about its negative impact on the citizens, who are now denied access to their funds.

Coup Allegation: Your ‘Regret’ Not Enough, Apologise To Atiku, Nigeria Military – Shaibu Slams Fani-Kayode.

The Director of Special Projects and New media of the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Femi Fani-Kayode has been asked to tender an unreserved public apology to the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the Nigeria Military.
According to the Special Assistant, Public Communication to Atiku, Phrank Shaibu, this is to ensure that Fani-Kayode is truly remorseful of his self-confessed lie that Atiku met with army generals with the aim of executing a coup against the democratically elected government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Recall that the Department of State Services (DSS) had on Monday grilled Fani-Kayode for six hours following a series of tweets wherein he claimed that Atiku had met with some army generals in a bid to perpetrate a coup.
After his release by the DSS, Fani-Kayode stated at a press conference that he regretted making the comments and he would guard his statements in the future.
But in a statement, Shaibu said Fani-Kayode’s “regret” was not enough without a public apology issued to Atiku and the military.


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